This weekend will see top clubs in Europe test their might against other clubs in a preseason friendly games ahead of the new season.
Top on the agenda will be the game between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid, reigning European champions, Liverpool will play Serie A side, Napoli, Arsenal will host Lyon in the Emirate Cup and Chelsea will lock horn against Reading.
Soccernet preview some of the matches for this weekend.
REAL MADRID VS ATLETICO MADRID
The Madrid derby comes to New Jersey as fierce city rivals Real and Atletico meet in the International Champions Cup on Saturday.
Real’s pre-season started with a 3-1 loss to Bayern Munich and looked to be heading for another defeat against Arsenal, but Zinedine Zidane’s side rallied to draw 2-2 with the Gunners before winning the penalty shootout 3-2.
As for Diego Simeone’s Atletico – who beat Los Colchoneros beat Guadalajara 5-4 on penalties to kick off their summer – Los Colchoneros are seeking a statement result as they face a transition season without Antoine Griezmann leading the attack.
Real XI: Courtois, Odriozola, Ramos, Varane, Mendy, Vazquez, Modric, Kroos, Hazard, Jovic, Vinicius
Atletico XI: Oblak, Trippier, Savic, Hermoso, Lodi, Vitolo, Koke, Saul, Lemar, Morata, Costa
Players to watch
New acquisition from Chelsea, Eden Hazard will be on the spotlight again after featuring against Bayern and Arsenal. Still adjusting to the new style of manager, Zinedine Zidane, Hazard will be hoping to impress the fans and coach.
Another new acquisition from Tottenham, Trippier will be hoping to continue from his impressive performance against Guadalajara on Wednesday.
Real Madrid 1-1 Atletico (Real to win penalty shootout)
Real’s fightback against Arsenal should put them in good stead against Atleti. Expect a tight, tense game – with a possible red card or two – and Los Blancos to do what they usually do: win on spot-kicks.
Where to watch the game: Star Times Sports Premium
Kissel Kobe vs Barcelona
Barcelona will continue their preparations for the 2019-20 campaign with a clash against Japanese side Vissel Kobe in the Rakuten Cup on Saturday.
The Spanish champions suffered a 2-1 defeat to Chelsea in their pre-season opener on Tuesday, with Ivan Rakitic scoring a late consolation for Ernesto Valverde’s side.
Much of the focus on Vissel Kobe will be on Andres Iniesta. The 35-year-old left Barca to join the Japanese outfit last summer and will now face his former club for the first time.
The midfielder made a staggering 674 appearances for Barca in all competitions, winning nine La Liga titles, six Copas del Rey and four Champions League titles. It was somewhat of a surprise when the Spaniard left Europe behind for a fresh challenge, but he has contributed six goals and seven assists in 29 appearances for his current team.
It will certainly be a special occasion for Iniesta, but Vissel Kobe also have a certain David Villa in their ranks. The forward turned out for Barca between 2010 and 2013, winning eight trophies during his time at Camp Nou. Villa moved to Vissel Kobe last December and has scored 10 times in 17 appearances for the club.
On the other hand, the likes of Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez are not yet available for Barca following their exertions at the 2019 Copa America, but Valverde has still brought a strong squad on tour. Antoine Griezmann made his debut for the club against Chelsea on Tuesday, but could not prevent the Catalan giants from suffering a 2-1 defeat.
Possible line up
Vissel Kobe: Maekawa; Nishi, Osaki, Miya, Hatsuse; Yamaguchi, Yasui; Villa, Iniesta, Furuhashi; Wellington
Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Semedo, Pique, Lenglet, Alba; Busquets, De Jong, Rakitic; Malcom, Griezmann, Dembele
Players to watch: Iniesta
A former player of the Catalonia side, Andre Iniesta will face his old friends on Saturday with a view to making a strong impression.
Playing his first game against Chelsea was a delight to watch but a lot will be expected from him against Kobe on Saturday.
Vissel Kobe will have an advantage considering that they are in the middle of their league season, but it is difficult to predict anything other than a Barca win given the distance in quality between the two teams. We fancy Griezmann to net his first goal for the club in a 3-1 success.
Reading vs Chelsea
Chelsea are back in the UK as they continue their pre-season preparations against Reading at the Madejski Stadium.
After trips to Ireland and Japan, the Blues head to Berkshire as Frank Lampard continues to get his squad ready for their season opener against Manchester United on Sunday 11 August.
Trips to RB Salzburg and Borussia Monchengladbach follow for Chelsea, with Reading gearing up for their Championship opener against Sheffield Wednesday on 3 August.
Possible line ups- Chelsea XI: Kepa, Azpilicueta, Christensen, Zouma, Emerson, Jorginho, Kovacic, Pedro, Mount, Pulisic, Giroud
Reading XI: Virginia, Yiadom, Moore, Miazga/Morrison, Blackett, Rinomhota, Swift, Barrow, Barrett, Olise, Meite
Players to watch
The American star displayed a glimpse of what to expect in the Premier League when he played against Barcelona. His pace and skills were a delight to watch.
The Blues are kicking into gear nicely with that impressive performance against Barcelona offering more insight into what we can expect from Lampard’s side this season.
The Royals will be taking part in their final warm-up game before the new season starts however and will hope to keep it competitive.
Venue: Madejski Stadium
Kick-off time: 3 pm BST, Sunday 28 July
Arsenal vs Lyon
Arsenal take on Lyon in this one-off Emirates Cup game in north London on Sunday, with the Gunners seeking a confidence boost ahead of the new Premier League season.
Arsenal have enjoyed a strong pre-season to date, with wins recorded over Colorado, Bayern Munich and Fiorentina.
Premier League fixtures and TV coverage
The Gunners drew 2-2 with Real Madrid on Wednesday and now host a Lyon side that has lost its first two friendlies of the summer.
Lyon were downed 4-3 by Genoa last weekend but will likely be more up for this clash in the capital.
What time is the Arsenal v Lyon game?
Arsenal v Lyon will kick off at 3:15 pm on Sunday 28th July 2019.
Liverpool vs Napoli
Liverpool take on Napoli in this pre-season friendly at Anfield hoping to carry the spirits of Reds fans who are still high after the Champions League success into a new season.
Liverpool are desperate to win the Premier League this term but manager Jurgen Klopp insists they won’t be breaking the bank on new recruits.
Napoli are in town for this one-off pre-season friendly, having played a handful of domestic warm-up matches before heading to the UK.
Liverpool head into this clash having drawn 2-2 with Sporting Lisbon in midweek.
Liverpool are tasked with bettering last season’s Champions League-winning campaign – and all eyes are on the Premier League title.
A lack of big-money transfers this summer was expected, as the Reds spent £200m on new players in 2018.
Liverpool have not had an easy pre-season, having lost to Sevilla and Dortmund. They earned a 2-2 draw against Sporting in their last game of the pre-season tour of the USA.
Now back on Merseyside, Liverpool will feel more comfortable and are playing a team that is yet to be properly tested this summer.